Aurora Apartments


Built in 1930, the 11-story neo-Gothic tower with views of downtown San Antonio was once a grand hotel where the wealthy, including Hollywood elite and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, stayed. Despite its place on the National Register of Historic Places, Aurora had fallen into disrepair over the past 20 years. Fairstead restored the building’s ornate facade and upgraded the building’s systems, apartments, and grounds. The renovation of Aurora Apartments breathed new life into an historic 1930s structure, transforming it from a neglected state back into dignified housing for low-income seniors and the disabled.

Aurora Apartments has brought 105 rehabilitated affordable rental homes for seniors aged 62 and older in the Tobin Hill neighborhood of San Antonio. The property includes 81 studio units, 19 one-bedroom units and 5 two-bedroom units. Residents at Aurora Apartments have access to a community room, computer room, common laundry, a library, picnic areas, and recreational areas.

The Aurora features hand-carved fireplaces, mosaic tile floors, an elegant lobby and a sunroom. “Everything’s new,” said Benito Martinez, who said he’s lived at the Aurora for 21 years and pays $280 a month in rent. Before the renovations, the appliances were old and so was the bathroom, he said. “It needed repair.”

Rainbow Housing Assistance Corporation, a non-profit, is providing a wide variety of programs and services at no extra charge to the residents at Aurora. Services include a combination of in-person and web-based programs, financial literacy, employment readiness, health and nutrition, energy conservation, computer workshops, personal development, continuing education, senior classes, crisis intervention, parenting workshops, resident housing tips and resources, weekly exercises, national vocational programs, and enhanced coordinated services.

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